Setting the Stage for i2Flex: The View from the Elementary School

Setting the Stage for i2Flex: The View from the Elementary School

Penny Kynigou (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece) and Helen Sarantes (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0267-8.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter is about setting the stage for i2Flex with reference to implementation in the elementary school. The fifth grade teacher and the technology specialist discuss and share specific examples of their practice supporting young learners with the foundational skills that they will need in order to use the i2Flex program successfully in the middle and high schools.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

Our classroom practice is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in the process of constructing meaning and knowledge rather than passively receiving information. We also believe that the process, techniques and skills of constructing meanings can be greatly enhanced by teachers' guidance in face -to-face rich interactive situations where students learn how to learn both individually and in social settings. The use of all this digital infrastructure and resource availability to which we initially refered, is not automatically going to lead to independent flexible learning without face to face teachers' presence. In this chapter, we share our philosophy about the use of technology with young students working within such a constructivist paradigm (Brooks & Brooks, 1999; Harel & Papert, 1991) and share our classroom experience in implementing this approach. We also provide an overview of the technology skills that are introduced in our elementary school. Our goal in this paper is to describe the skills which must be taught at the elementary school level for the later successful implementation of i2Flex. These include:

  • Asking meaningful questions and thinking critically in the context of independent research projects;

  • Blogging as a medium to promote student writing, giving and receiving feedback and developing Netiquette;

  • Familiarization with Moodle as a resource for homework and further independent study.

We describe the teaching processes we have developed and report on a case study with 5th grade. Although the full spectrum of the i2Flex program is not implemented at the elementary school level, we consider these three strands essential preparation for training students to become independent and confident learners in using i2Flex in the Middle and High Schools.

We, the authors, are both elementary school teachers at ACS Athens. Penny Kynigou teaches 5th grade homeroom while Helen Sarantes is the technology specialist. We collaborate closely to provide essential foundational experiences that enable our students to participate successfully in the full i2Flex program at ACS. We have each contributed to this chapter individually and have revised and edited each other's work.

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